The principal responsibility of every employer is to develop safety procedures for cutting, drilling or sawing a concrete. Each method that involves cutting or drilling concrete is associated with specific dangers.
Dust and fibres
Although concrete saws and tools have dust protection ventilation systems, the worker needs a respirator if he uses tools for a more prolonged period of time. The greatest danger from dust is silicosis - a chronic illness that causes coughing, difficulty breathing and chest pain. It takes several years for the first symptoms of the disease to occur, so the worker is unaware of the danger lurking. The risk of the disease is associated with the amount of inhaled dust. The employer should provide sufficient protective equipment, especially when dry concrete cutting or when the blades are damaged.
The worker's hearing ability is compromised if sufficient measures are not taken to protect him. This superior ability may be damaged in two ways: if the worker is exposed to very loud noise in a short time, or if the worker is exposed to a low noise level for an extended period. Before his employment, the worker should know that concrete cutting and drilling equipment causes some level of noise and that he will be exposed to it daily. The employer needs to provide training and instruction on the effects of noise, as well as to provide hearing protectors and other proper equipment.
The risk of electrocution is high if there is pooled water at the working place. Before using any electrical equipment, this water must be vacuum-cleaned. A trained worker will know he must not use electrical equipment for wet concrete cutting. This method requires only hydraulic, pneumatic or petrol engine powered equipment. Complete electrical equipment used for concrete cutting at the construction site is inspected by a qualified person.
Kick-back is an unexpected situation when the blade violently escapes from the cutting surface. Workers who operate hand-held tools are the ones who face the greatest risk of this hazard. The worker faces potential injuries such as fractures, cuts and bruises. This danger can occur when changing the blade direction without removing it off the wall, encountering cables and pipes, cutting unstable surfaces.